So….what had happened was…thieves (like how Robin Hood was a thief) broke all the parking meters in Cardigan, a small market town in mid-Wales in the UK, leaving the local council the bothersome task of looking for £24,000 to fix them all back in working order.
Now, you might think that these meters themselves are a handsome source of income for the town, but the reality seems to be that trade and economy in the small town has actually increased by large margins.
Martin Radley – chairman of Cardigan Traders (the town, not the clothing) – said:
While we would never condone criminal activity, the fact remains that traders throughout town are reporting a rise in footfall since those machines were put out of action.
What we have now is a level playing field. People who have enjoyed free parking at supermarkets like Tesco and Aldi are finding they actually prefer going to small, independent shops, which offer goods of a far better quality. We are finding people are staying longer in town and spending more money.
What should this mean for small businesses? The truth is that the parking meters will get fixed at some point. And even if they don’t nobody’s breaking all the parking meters in the UK – the local councils will never be able to think outside of the revenue that these machines bring. The future therefore can only be online businesses. I have no serious solution as to how the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker will make this work in terms of logistics. All I can tell from this is that people do have spending power and would happily spend it with smaller businesses if they could. We just have to figure out a way to make this happen.
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